Soh Eeshaun (b. 1980) is a Singaporean artist and illustrator. Eeshaun’s drawings and paintings explore non-linear, spontaneous and open-ended narratives that express the subconscious mind – as a reaction to the regularity and austerity of Singapore society. Often unplanned, his abstract, non-conceptual paintings are an experiential and experimental process; fraught with uncertainty and opportunity, and riddled with control and joyful abandonment, as he juxtaposes shapes, lines and planes into a complex, grid-like web of harmonious colours and playful forms.
Since 2005, Eeshaun has created artworks and illustrations for Adidas, Nike, The Discovery Channel, Disney, Facebook, Herman Miller and Lacoste. Eeshaun is a Asian Kinetic Artist for Tiger Translate, and was featured in 20/20 BASE, an exhibition celebrating 20 of Singapore’s most creative talents at the 2007 Singapore Design Festival. In 2008, he was commissioned with FARM by the Design Singapore Council as curatorial leads for the 11th Venice Architectural Biennale Singapore Pavilion. His largest public art installation, ‘Move!’, was commissioned by the Land Transport Authority of Singapore for the Bishan Circle Line station in 2009. Eeshaun was a finalist for the 2011 Sovereign Asian Art Prize, and was officially selected to present Scribbledribblequibble, a site-specific interactive installation at i Light Marina Bay Singapore in 2014.
CATCHING UP WITH: EESHAUN
There is a strong sense of humour in your work- what are your key influencers and how do you decide on a particular series of work? Take us through your creative process.
I think humour is very important, especially in our daily life. People take everything very seriously these days, which is rather unfortunate. They forget that life can vanish in an instant, or the next minute. Its very transient. Everything is changing, so its much better to just sit back and watch it like a movie, than to try and control the events. Its a part of the process which I put inside my work – to paint and draw, and then watch the event unfold by itself, without trying to control or plan how to do it. The work turns out more beautiful and unexpected, and the narrative is always surprising. Its like discovering a part of your subconscious mind you didn’t know existed. I always thought of my work as an ongoing series, although lately I’ve been more interested in doing abstract drawings and paintings, but I still switch back to drawing characters when the need arises, since most people relate to the humour more quickly when they see a face or expression. These days, I prefer conveying the humour through more basic, fundamental approach using just colours and composition.
Has being an art educator influenced your perspective as an artist and illustrator?
Yes definitely – the interesting part of being an educator is to see the evolution of art through the newer, younger generation, seeing what interests them and what they’re identifying with as artists, and more importantly how they’re conveying their message to the public. It also makes me question and contemplate my own practise, what it means to create, and why I’m still involved in it, and it helps you see where you stand among all the body of work being put out there. It doesn’t necessarily change the way I’m making art. As an educator, its more about trying to help students find their voice or shape their practise and ideas, although from experience, the really talented ones already know what they want to do, I’m just playing the role of aunt agony and cheerleader (minus the skirt, haha!)
What would be your dream collaboration?
At this point, I would like to make dresses or curtains, sofas, you know, something textile-related. I always found my work to be rather pattern-like. The other dream would be to create a monument, like a sculpture or something architectural in scale. Could be a playground or perhaps somebody’s house!
Technology has been a huge driving force in the creation of your artworks, where do you envision yourself as an artist in the next 5 years? Do you have any big projects or shows in the coming year?
Yes technology is very important in the creative process, it makes the art-making process more convenient, its also cheaper and better to produce art these days because of all the wonderful printing and tablet technology. 5 years from now, I’m sure my art will be rather different from what it looks like today – I’m quite interested in doing a 3D-printed painting show, so (hopefully) that might happen soon!